American Veteran 01

Roland Nafus, (NFPD Ret.)

January 6, 1934 ~ February 7, 2021 (age 87)

Obituary Image

Life story


Roland Nafus of Niagara Falls, NY, passed from this life on Sunday, February 7, 2021.  He was born to Ralph Nafus and Luella Cosby Nafus on January 6, 1934, and attended LaSalle High School.  Always hard working, Rolly, as he was known, spent summers working at the Port Maitland, Ontario shipyards. At school, he was an outstanding athlete in swimming and track, and a football all-star.  He earned a football scholarship to Michigan State University. He was in the ROTC and after graduating with a Bachelors of Science degree in Police Administration, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and served as a Military Police Officer.


Rolly married his high school sweetheart, the late Bonnie Lou (nee Blaine) and built a home for his young family on Cayuga Island. He joined the Niagara Falls Police Department and worked up the ranks to become a Detective Lieutenant in the Criminal Bureau. As a second career, he took up construction as owner and operator of ‘Groundhog Services’. 


As a young boy, Rolly was always spending time on the Upper Niagara River - boating, fishing, diving, water skiing and exploring Navy Island. With his extensive knowledge of the river, he assisted other boaters and on a few occasions even rescued boaters caught in the deadly current near the Falls. With his love of the river, Rolly developed a great interest in local history and archaeology.  He put his knowledge to paper and wrote a book, ‘Navy Island - Historic Treasure of the Niagara’ - it was published in 1998 by the Old Fort Niagara Association.


Bonnie and Rolly enjoyed camping - making trips to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for many years and also enjoying their beautiful property in Rushford, NY.  While keeping many family pets, Rolly’s dogs were usually included in the family’s travels.  Friends joked that they would like to be reincarnated as one of Rolly’s well cared for dogs. In recent years, Rolly took up bee keeping at the southern tier land - his hives provide wonderful wildflower honey.  


Rolly is survived by his children, a son, Ronald "Mike" Nafus of Niagara Falls, NY; daughters, Deborah Mauriello (Michael R. Mauriello) of Houston, TX and Jamie Nafus of Rush, NY as well as several in-laws, nieces and nephews.


Rolly was laid to rest next to his beloved wife at Mount View Cemetery in Pekin, NY. Professional Arrangements by Michael R. Goodlander, owner of OTTO REDANZ FUNERAL HOME, 2215 Military Road, Niagara Falls, NY (716-297-9007).  Share condolences and memories at and

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